Middle East

Gaza youth protest Israeli imprisonment

Youth activists demonstrate in front of UN agency building, demanding action against Israel's detention of Palestinians.

Last updated: 21 May 2014 14:08
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The activists blocked the entrance to a building containing international organisations [Dawud Abo Elkass/Al Jazeera]

Gaza City - Dozens of young activists have blocked the entrance to a building containing international organisations' offices in Gaza City to call for immediate action and support for Palestinian prisoners held in administrative detention, who have been on a hunger strike for 28 days in a row.

The youths stood for two hours on Wednessday outside the closed blue gate of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)'s building and hung signs reading that the place, which hosts other UN agencies, is "shut down at the order of the Palestinian youths".

In their capacity as the guardians of international rights conventions, these [UN] organisations must do more [on behalf of the prisoners].

Jamal Yaghi, Intifada Youth Coalition spokesman

Organisers say the move is to draw international attention to the plight of about 130 prisoners held in Israeli prisons without a charge. They are part of 180 others known as administrative prisoners that Israeli authorities detain for renewable periods of six months without a trial.

"Those who sacrificed for our freedom expect us to do more," an activist shouted at the demonstration. Protesters repeated his statements, holding brine water bottles to demonstrate the prime meal of the hunger strikers.

"This is a letter from the youths to the international organisations and international community that they must act to support the prisoners," Jamal Yaghi, spokesman of the Intifada Youth Coalition, told Al Jazeera. "In their capacity as the guardians of international rights conventions, these organisations must do more."

Israa al-Areer, a participant in the protest, said that "nobody has made enough of an effort to garner solidarity with the prisoners on international levels". Al-Areer also blamed the Palestinian authorities in the occupied West Bank and Gaza strip for not making a diplomatic campaign addressing the international community.

Police officers stood by the gate to prevent youths from breaking into the building's yard.

RELATED: Israel set to bar further prisoner releases

Also on Wednesday, Palestinian lawyers in Gaza courts suspended their work for one day in solidarity with the prisoners.

On Thursday, about 5,000 Palestinian prisoners in all Israeli jails will go on a one-day fast to show support for their hunger striking colleagues.

Ziad Abu Ein, deputy minister of prisoners affairs in the occupied West Bank, said in a statement that the prisoners want an end to the administrative detention.

He added that the Israeli authorities "offered no solution and the situation could witness more escalation."


Al Jazeera
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